Family Asks for Answers, Autopsy in Inmate’s Death

Why and how did he die?

That’s what Tony White’s family is still asking 7 days after his death in the Chatham County Jail.

They are now asking something else, where is the autopsy?

“Unfortunately for the past several years the Chatham County Detention Center, our jail, has operated as a defacto death factory,” said Will Claiborne, attorney for the White family.

Tony White died on September 7. Sheriff John Wilcher held a news conference the same day about his death.

“There wouldn’t be an autopsy,” explained Wilcher. “You got all the medical records from medical and Correct Health One looked at all of them and said just a natural cause of death.”

Words that 7 days later ring hollow to Tony White’s family.

“I don’t trust the sheriff,” said Ronnie White, Tony’s nephew. “I don’t believe anything he says. He has to show me on paper.”

Tony White
Tony White

While they know White’s death is being investigated by the GBI, they continue to wait for answers, for a reason why he is gone.

“We know Mr White is dead, what we don’t know is why,” said Will Claiborne. “We don’t know if he received the medications that he needed. We don’t know what kind of medical attention he did or did not receive while he was in the jail.”

What they do know is 31 inmates have signed a paper which says white wasn’t getting proper treatment.

The letter says medical staff told White he had Hepatitis C and that his liver and kidneys were bad.

A letter signed by 31 inmates who knew Tony White detailing mistakes medical staff made which may have to led to his death
A letter signed by 31 inmates who knew Tony White detailing mistakes medical staff made which may have to led to his death

The letter adds that he begged for help, but Jail officials and medical staff that help was refused. Claiming it took 45 minutes for EMT’s to be called in when he collapsed and eventually died.

“When John Wilcher ran for sheriff he promised change but we are back to the same ole same ole,” says Ronnie White.

The White family want an autopsy, but say they aren’t getting anything but a run around

“We have sent letter after letter sent request after request on behalf of mr white’s family for an autopsy to be performed,” said Claiborne. “All we have received so far is finger pointing back and forth. the jail says its up the coroner, the coroner says its up to the GBi, the GBI says its up to the coroner, all we know is it hasnt happened. Someone needs to be empowered and someone needs to make this happen.”

“Medical science, an autopsy can and should help to answer these questions not only for the White family but for the entire Savannah community,” said Claiborne.

“If he (Sheriff Wilcher) believes in the Lord the way he said he does he will give us an autopsy to close this case,” said an emotional White.

Statement from the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office about Tony White’s death:

“Our heartfelt sympathy goes to the White family for the passing of their loved one, Tony Anthony White. When we became aware of Mr. White’s passing the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office followed protocol and notified the GBI and the Chatham County Coroner’s Office. Preliminary results indicated that Mr. White passed due to natural causes however the GBI’s investigation is not complete and it would not be proper to comment any further at this time.”

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